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Beyond bunnies and beers to beauty and love.

I rarely drive with the radio turned on. But recently I found myself gripping the wheel tightly as I overheard a radio jock telling the world that we must all get into a liquor store to buy Beer X and Wine Z that were all on special because, “Easter is not about bunnies but about Camels that can not live on water alone!” Apparently here in Australia there are some ‘thirsty Camels’ about! What utter rubbish!

Easter is not about the last surf at the beach before Winter sets in. It is not about long traffic jams on the way to the beach or a music festival. It is not about Easter Egg hunts nor some poor old, long and lopped ear bunny. It is not about special ‘traditional’ footy games at large venues nor about an extended long weekend. It is not about cheap deals at holiday venues nor chocolate overload before a pre-Winter diet. Some of the above – like that last surf – may be good – but they are NOT what Easter is about.

We here on fragile Planet Earth have never needed the true message and meaning of Easter more. There is a powerful Bette Midler song, ‘The Rose’.

Some say love, it is a riverThat drowns the tender reedSome say love, it is a razorThat leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hungerAn endless aching needI say love, it is a flowerAnd you, its only seed.
It’s the heart afraid of breaking – that never learns to dance, It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It’s the one who won’t be takenwho cannot seem to give.

And the soul, afraid of dyin’That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonelyAnd the road has been too longAnd you think that love is onlyFor the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winterFar beneath the bitter snowsLies the seed that with the sun’s loveIn the spring becomes the rose.

Some times I can get quite down when I listen to the nightly news. As the famous Australian poet, John O’Brien once said, “We’ll all be doomed said Hanrahan!” The nightly news can be so full of doom and gloom. The tragedy which is the war in the Ukraine, the greed and Machiavellian (the end justifies the means) power fixation of Putin, the violence, death and starvation in Gaza, the complex reasons behind the unjust attack on innocent Israeli civilians, Somalia and endless civil war – all weigh heavy upon our human hearts and minds.

Place on top of all of this our climate crisis and more importantly the short term profit fixation that means we humans are ultimately really doing nothing about it. Place on top of this the politics of fear that rules political discourse here and overseas and then the ‘us’ v’s ‘them’ fake news driven and popularist nationalism of Trumpian politics: and we could all be tempted to give up and lose hope. But we must hope – there IS hope!

That is the ultimate meaning of Easter. Beyond bunnies and beers to hope, to new life, to a profound belief and reality that ultimately love will ALWAYS conquer fear. Light will ALWAYS, ULTIMATELY conquer darkness and no matter the amount of death and destruction, fear and violence, selfishness and greed, the small voice and whisper which is love will have its day,

The Easter event centres on probably the most radical love driven dreamer our world has ever known. The Jesus story centres on a man who on every page of the Scriptures goes from the Temple and the Torah (the Sacred Jewish Scriptures) to the edge and to the people consigned to the edge by politics, greed and fear. Here, the radical Jesus, the radical man of justice and love engages the poverty and powerlessness. Here Jesus breaks every rule of the ritual holiness codes and reaches out and touches lepers, opens compassion arms to the blind man, hugs the judged and shamed ‘sinful’ woman a victim of patriarchy and power over and welcomes the little children for their hearts are so all about love.

This radical prophet of the small people and the small moment – preaches by word and by action the power of forgiveness, of healing, of dignity and of innate worth in all.

This radical prophet of servanthood gets up from table and washes the feet of his chosen twelve. This radical personification of love gives himself totally to a dream of the rule of love in and around all.

Yes, and so they take him, they judge him, they whip him, they crown him with a crown of thorns. Yes, they humiliate him, they mock him and they place upon his shoulders his own means of death; a heavy wooden cross. Yes, he carries that cross as he has carried so many of the edge people through his years of public ministry.

Yes, the crowds gather, the soldiers jeer and his followers hide away. Yes, he reaches out, not knowing, not fully understanding, but trusting his profound inner dream in the midst of fear and then death.

Then, and this is the meaning of it all – on Easter morn in some way that only the love touched heart can know, he conquers death. He lives! He is risen!

This living and this rising is no theoretical belief. I have experienced it a thousand times when I have seen love in the midst of fear, healing in the midst of hurt, hope in the midst of anger, vengeance and greed. Yes, I have felt the ‘whisper’ of life, of hope, of deep peace and profound joy – a peace and a joy that this world just can never give – every time I have allowed this living Jesus to love in and through me despite my brokenness and despite my fear.

All of this ultimately mocks the greed and violence, the selfishness and the harshness of our world. But it mocks it not in judgement but rather in a gentle (but strong), accepting and forgiving invitation to let go of all that kills and cripples our hearts and hear and believe in the whisper of love, deep within.

Then that sunrise after the storm, the rose that breaks the Winter snow and the eyes that sparkle hope and love despite the ravages of a long and difficult journey – will have the final say.

Happy Easter – a non-bunny, non Camel thirsty  Easter!


1 thought on “Beyond bunnies and beers to beauty and love.”

  1. Damien, wishing you joy, peace and hope this Easter.
    I’m so grateful for your words this Easter morning and to the link with a song I love very much – The Rose!
    Our world, my heart needs this message very much at present. Much love Kate

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